The legal landscape of 2012 is vastly different than that of a decade ago. Long gone is the time when cost was only one of many considerations in selecting a law firm and when inside counsel paid law firms huge fees with only a quick glance at the monthly bills. Today, legal costs are of utmost importance, with corporations greatly limiting their legal expenses, sometimes to less than one percent of total revenue. With increasing pressures both to keep legal costs down and to maintain a high-quality work product, corporations are turning more frequently to requests for proposals (RFPs) to identify, assess and select outside counsel.
RFPs serve as a formal offer to law firms to submit proposals for the provision of legal services. Although RFPs are most common in routine contract work, corporations are increasingly requiring them for more complex corporate litigation matters as well. According to a 2012 survey by LexisNexis, 42 percent of law firms have observed an increase in RFP activity over the past year (and another 42 percent believe that the RFP volume has remained approximately the same).